So, it's come to this: today I took a sick day.

Don't get me wrong -- I was actually not feeling well today, as evidenced by the fact that I slept pretty much through until 1:00 this afternoon. I needed the rest, because it was a Very Bad Weekend. I hurt my ankle (and I'm still a bit gimpy), and I didn't have fun at my cousin's birthday party, and the weather was crappy, and I had a headache. When I woke up I knew I was in no shape at all to face the world, so I decided early on that I was going to call out.

And I don't regret it, either. I only get 10 sick days a year, and this was one of mine. I haven't called out yet this year, so I'm pretty far ahead of the curve relative to the rest of my department anyway. But I have to be honest: I didn't just call out sick because I was, you know, sick. I desperately needed a Mental Health Day.

Everybody needs a Mental Health Day once in a while; I wish more companies were like the County of Northampton, where my Dad works. They actually give their employees Mental Health Days -- I think they get three a year, or something like that. Of course, they pay their people absolute shit, so I guess I don't actually wish more companies were like the County, but I think you see what I'm getting at: Mental Health Days are Very Good Things, and more companies should offer them as benefits.

Then again, there is the argument that is made where I work, that there is such a thing as "vacation time," and that when employees need a little R&R, they should feel free to use their vacation allotment for that. Which I don't disagree with, in principle, but I also sort of do take issue with that. My mental health is just as important to me as my physical health; why shouldn't I treat all illnesses the same way?

What all of this is coming down to is that I have come to the realization that I need a vacation. Or, as the one, the only, the Samuel L. Jackson might say: "I need a mutherfuckin' break on a mutherfuckin' plane." The signs have all been there for some time -- the difficulty sleeping, the irritability, the dire desperate need for some goddamned photosynthesis. But what really drove me over the edge? Was last week, when I came so unglued that I was speaking, thinking, and writing in poetry. Oh, yes ... my nervous breakdowns are performed in iambic pentameter. (Don't try this at home. I am a trained professional nutjob.)

So, when I finally woke up today, I had a Hot Pocket and a shower, and then I got on the horn to my travel agent, and sonofabitch, I booked a trip. I'll have to use my "real" vacation time for it, but it will be well worth it, believe me. The countdown has already started, and I'm practically already packed. I'm just waiting for the Lands End shipment to come with my new bathing suit in it. Because that, and clean underpants, and a toothbrush, are all I am planning to take with me.

I don't to give away to much about where we're going, but I will give a few hints. But before I do, here is what I will do on my vacation: Lie in the sun. Drink mojitos. Read. Sleep late. Take pictures of palm trees. Drink mai tais. Chase lizards. Swim in the ocean. Speak another language. Drink daiquiris. Dance. Laugh. Listen to my iPod. Drink Cuba libres. Like myself again.

And what I won't do? Think about work. Use my cellphone. Speak in rhymes. Regret a single second.

Want some clues on where we're going? I already gave you some, and I'm not allowed to go to Havana (boo, sanctions!), but here are three more, as promised: Island in the sun. BĂ©isbol. David Ortiz.

Hasta la vista, baby!


Look, I may not go to church unless someone drags me there kicking and screaming, or unless they trick me into going by telling me that the sacramental wine has been replaced by White Russians, or ... no, let's just call a spade a spade and say it: I don't do church. (Yes, Nana, I know my seat in Hell is already reserved, and I know this because I already work there.) But just because I've turned my back on organized religion, that doesn't mean I don't recognize the Signs of the Apocalypse when I see them. And I'm pretty sure that "my cat getting a blog" is right up there with Pestilence, Famine, and Tom-Brady-being-a-baby-daddy-(TWICE!!) in that regard.

Which isn't to say I'm opposed to blogs, necessarily, as a construct or a cultural phenomenon. Obviously. But I am becoming increasingly disturbed by the overuse and misapplication of them. Blogging is the new black, apparently, and it makes me feel squicky. As my grandfather might say in one of his more lucid moments: "Blogs are like assholes; everybody's got one, and most of 'em stink." Or, in other words, they've become completely filled with information and totally devoid of content.

Because, here's the problem -- it's not them, it's me. I don't think blogs are supposed to be important or earth-shattering or groundbreaking in any way. Call me "old skool" if you must, but I still think blogs should be of the online-personal-diary persuasion: a place for someone to write what they think or what they feel, for their friends or friends of their friends to read and share. A kind of conversation, or a digital journal. Some of the things bloggers talk about can be important -- religion, politics, reality shows -- but they don't have to be. I like the blogs where people post pictures of their new shoes and put up their poetry and vent about things that bother them. Blogs like the ones here, where maybe sometimes people sound like drunks, or dorks, or drunken dorks, or neurotic early-thirtysomethings having the midlife crisis of the week, but for the most part, the people sound like people.

By which I mean: they don't sound like network news shows. What the crap is with all these "blogs" that the network news programs have out now? "Click here to see this clip from last night's telecast that only tells part of one side of the story, plus check out Katie Couric's cute new haircut!" (Not actual links.) What is that? That's not news, to begin with -- that's advertising. And anyway, I want to actually, you know, find out what's going on in the world! It's a sad state of affairs when people are being paid to set up hotlinks to stories that provide you with fewer actual facts than the crawl on the bottom of the screen during any random mess on E!

So ... where was I going here? Oh: I think there should be a different word for what people are doing when they're trying to tell you how to be, or how to think, or what to wear, or who to vote for, or why to bother voting at all, but whatever that word is, it shouldn't be "blog." I want to take that word back, restore it to its original meaning. Protect it and all it stands for. Death to the keyboard monkeys! Anarchy now!

PS -- If you're reading this, you're NOT one of the people who pisses me off. Not this week, anyway. Just so you know. Yeah, I know I get a little batshit sometimes. I know. Sorry. But I kind of value independent reasoning, and I'm fed up with people who mistake literacy for intelligence, and who mistake the ability to click for the ability to think.